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Santiago, the old man in The Old Man and the Sea, carries on with his life-long commitment to fishing even after an eighty-four day long string of days without a catch of any sort. He sees his destiny as being centered on and carried out upon the ocean in his boat, pursuing the trade that has been his life.
The great catch of his life stretches out over three incredible days and two seemingly endless nights. Because he does not actually see his catch for the first days, he is able to focus on the struggle of wits between fisherman and the catch. As time goes on and his energy ebbs, however, he begins to see things in a different light.
"God help me endure. I'll say a hundred Our Fathers and a hundred Hail Marys. But I cannot say them now....You are killing me, fish, the old man thought. But you have a right to....Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who."
In the end, Santiago sees himself as beaten only by his own decision to go so far out into the ocean, with all the resulting consequences of that decision. He, rather than fate, continues to control his life.
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